Monday, 20 October 2008

Trains and dogs

Did you know that dogs go for free on the railway?

Thought not. Well I'm going to do a bit of a PR job for British Rail, or what ever you're supposed to call them these days.

Really I can't understand why people (humans that is) moan so much. I mean, is getting somewhere on time so very important anyway? Let me tell you some of the reasons I like travelling down to Nottingham on the train.

Mostly, of course, it's the food. Yes seriously! Have you any idea how many railway staff will happily dole out free biscuits and treats to cute looking dogs (that's me, folks)? And then there's always some bored passenger with a packed lunch who's a soft touch. I just need to sit there and fix them with my piercing, hopeful stare, and sooner or later, I can guarantee you, tasty morsels of ham sandwich, Cornish pasty or fruit cake will be coming my appreciative way.

My favourite position on the train is lying in the aisle, a good vantage point from where I can keep an eye on what's going on up and down the carriage. I can't help but notice that all the old folk who look a bit frail and wobbly seem to have no trouble stepping over me, quite often stopping to give me a friendly pat, and it's the younger, richer, fitter looking passengers who tut tut about me being in the way and make a big show about getting Gail to shove me under the seat when they try to pass.

Train travel can even be exciting. I like to flirt with danger sometimes and coming back from Nottingham a week ago, I did have a close encounter with the drinks trolley. Luckily the trolley lady, sorry "senior refreshment executive" who reversed into me whilst touting for business had a sense of humour and didn't attempt to sue after she trod on my paw and I retaliated by trying to bite her ankle. (An instinctive reaction which I do now regret).

I'm not so sure about being used as in-flight entertainment for other people's kids, but will even tolerate that so long as there's no tail-pulling involved. Foreigners sometimes want to take my photo, and I do rather like the thought that in some far flung place, even as I type, someone is looking at a picture of me and cooing 'isn't he sweet' in Japanese or Greek or whatever.

Just one final comment, at risk of seeming racist. The quality and attitude of the train staff does seem to deteriorate as soon as we go south of the border. You Sassenachs would do well to learn from your Scottish colleagues. Those uniforms you wear have pockets perfectly designed for carrying fragments of shortbread or chocolate biscuits you know.

Just thought I'd mention it.

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